Malaysia's SEA Games squad finalised as 6 new faces joins Bangkok group
Malaysia announced the final 20-man squad for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur South-East Asia (SEA) Games on Saturday afternoon ahead of the opening fixture on Monday against Brunei.
Datuk Ong Kim Swee dropped Amierul Hakimi, Raphi Azizan, Danial Ashraf, Sean Eugene, Dominic Tan, Tommy Mawat, Azriddin Rosli and Ahmad Khairil Anuar (Beto) from the finalised squad.
Amierul however will remained with the squad for the entirety of their participation in the SEA Games as the competition rules allow for a change of goal keeper should one of the two selected suffers an injury during the tournament.
The core of the team was retained from the team that qualified for the AFC Under-23 Championship finals last month with six new inclusions. They are Syamer Kutty, S. Kumaahran, Haziq Nadzli, Safawi Rasid, Matthew Davies and Nor Azam Azih.
Ong admits it was tough to drop the eight players, having been pleased with their commitment during training. While there are some doubts over a few players, Ong is happy with the overall condition of the team.
"It is not an easy decision to make. This is my fourth games and this has been the toughest decision to make. But the boys will be back with the squad after the games."
"Yesterday Thanabalan had his MRI and based on the report, he should be available. At least for 30 minute against Brunei and fully available for Singapore. Kumaahran is fit and ready.
"The first 3 - 4 days, I left out few players [from training]. Davies and Azam only did light training the past few days. I'll try to rotate them from game to game. We have more depth this time and I will try to change it according to tactics," said Ong to the press after the announcement.
Ong is adamant that the entire squad is ready to play if called upon and no one is certain of a starting place despite their heroics in the Bangkok qualifiers.
"Bangkok is the past. It was a good result there. Now we have to look forward. I believe the six players give us a good mixture and many benefits as a team. So, anybody can play," added Ong.
Full squad list
Goalkeeper: Ifwat Akmal (Kedah), Haziq Nadzli (Johor Darul Ta'zim)
Defender: Ariff Farhan (Kedah), Adib Zainudin (FELCRA FC), Adam Nor Azlin (Selangor), Matthew Davies (Pahang), Irfan Zakaria (Kuala Lumpur), Syazwan Zaipol (PKNP FC), Syazwan Andik (Johor Darul Ta'zim II)
Midfielder: Amirul Hisyam (Kedah), Syamer Kutty (Penang), S. Kumaahran (Penang), N. Thanabalan (FELCRA FC), Syahmi Safari (Selangor), Nor Azam Azih (Pahang), Danial Amer (Felda United)
Forward: Syafiq Ahmad (Kedah), Akhyar Rashid (Kedah), Jafri Firdaus Chew (Penang), Safawi Rasid (Johor Darul Ta'zim)